A personal board of directors

8 Sep

Well, it’s finally here. The end of the MBA. Now we have to go out in the world and do our thing, be great ambassadors, be fabulous, seize the moment, build our personal brands, our networks, our work-life-balance, and ourselves. You get the idea.

So it was with great appreciation that one of the discussions I attended today during our Capstone week to end the course provided some great, thoughtful advice on exactly how to BE amazing.

Build your own personal board of directors.

There. Now you know.

This might sound simple (or maybe it doesn’t; that’s OK too). The main focus was on thinking about how a good board of directors in a company challenges the leadership, brings different perspectives to the forefront, and shares their collective experience, networks and expertise to improve the business. Similarly, in your personal and professional life, having a good board of directors can help you better run “You, Inc.”, by doing pretty much those same things, but with you as the focus and CEO.

Some of the tips to building your board:

  1. Choose the most talented, not the most accessible. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person you think can best fill a board member role, figure out who they are and use your existing network to get you there.
  2. A balanced board gives better advice. Aim for diversity of perspective and experience, so that you can gain insight for personal and professional issues.
  3. All board members have terms. Upgrade your board over the course of your career and life, to make sure they stay relevant for you.
  4. Your board isn’t there to make decisions for you. A good board gives support, input and direction but shouldn’t tell you what to do. Let them help you think through the consequences of different courses of action, and the risks and rewards they may bring. Acting, and facing the consequences, is your job.
  5. Be the board member you’d like to have. Remember that you may also be able to be a competent board member to someone else. Helping someone else grow will help you grow as well.

It’s incredibly exciting to be at this particular stage in my professional and life journey – post-MBA I think we are only just beginning to grasp the potential and the opportunities we’ll be faced with in the weeks, months and years ahead. But even if you aren’t on the threshold of a big event, I think this idea has great merit. Life is going to be challenging, and you shouldn’t tackle it alone.


2 Responses to “A personal board of directors”

  1. andy bell September 9, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Go wendy go!

  2. Natalie Moore September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Love it! Sign me up for a board of directors!

    Wow, Wen – look how you’ve made it to the “post-MBA” place already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were packing to leave on this journey?

    Well, rock star, welcome to your future!!!

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